As has dominated the headlines in recent months, July marks the start of Mark Carney’s tenure as Governor of the Bank of England. But just who is this man drafted in from the other side of the Atlantic, and what (if any) changes in policy can we expect as he takes over?
Mark Carney was born in a small town in northern Canada, and graduated from Harvard with an economics degree in 1988. Just two decades later, having worked in offices around the world for investment bank Goldman Sachs, Carney was appointed Governor of the Bank of Canada – a post he held until June this year when he left to take up a five-year term in the same post at the Bank of England.
It is not the first time Carney has stepped foot on British shores, having earned a masters and then a doctorate in economics from Oxford, as well as a stint in Goldman Sachs’ London office. It is also said he will soon apply for British citizenship.
Given the speed of his rise through the ranks of the banking world, one has to assume that Carney knows his stuff. And indeed he is credited with helping the Canadian economy see off the worst effects of the financial meltdown, despite Canada’s obviously close ties with the US.
Reports at the end of June have economists pinning their hopes on Carney taking up his predecessor’s approach and pushing for more quantitative easing (QE). They believe Carney will bring with him a strong appreciation for the policies of the US Federal Reserve, and continue existing measures rather than try a radically different approach.
This is in stark contrast to the commentary that abounded when Carney was appointed to succeed Sir Mervyn King, when he was labelled innovative, determined and steadfastly against money printing as a form of stimulus.
The reality may well be that Carney lies somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, and that he opts for a steady-as-she-goes approach in the short term while he gets to grips with overseeing a new economy with its new set of challenges. But ultimately only time will tell what approach he takes to re-establish meaningful growth and sustainable health in the British economy.